How long does it take to catch up in size?

Kristina - posted on 11/03/2008 ( 54 moms have responded )

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Hi, I'm new here and I'm a new mom. My son was born at 32 weeks and was 3 lbs 15 oz. Now he is 13 weeks and 10 lbs 8 oz. I'm always feeling worried about his size and I was wondering about how long it takes for preemies to catch up to full term babies in size. I'm sure it's different for every baby, but I was just wondering if there was an average time until they "catch up."

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you have had tons of replies, but developmentally he should be up to par by about 2, and size wise he may never catch up, but it sounds like he is doing great. My daughter was 29wks, 1lb 11oz and was only 11lbs at one, so dont' worry....

Melissa - posted on 11/14/2008

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My son was born at 32 weeks and was 4lb. 2 oz. he left the hospital a little over 3 lbs. He is still small (just wear 3T pants at almost 4 years old), but much is brighter and more verbal than his peers..I think each child is different. He also had severe reflux for the first 16 months of life and didn't keep much in.

Amy - posted on 11/13/2008

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Hi my name is Amy. MY littlest boy Bailey arrived at 29 weeks he weighed 2 pound 14 ounce and he is now 6 months old and still only weighs 12 pounds 15 ounces . So i'd say your little guys doing great> He is adorable by the way:)

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Annesa - posted on 11/14/2008

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Our daughter was born at 25 weeks and weighed 1 lb 9oz. She spent three months in the NICU and came home at 7 lb 2 oz. She is now 17 months and still small for her age. Developmentally she is at a 12-13 month age and I have come to terms that she probably will not be caught up by 2. This is not letting me lose hope. All children develop at different rates and as long as ours is healthy we can handle her being a little bit behind. Eventually the gap narrows.

Kelly - posted on 11/13/2008

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My son was born at 33 wks 3 days, and was 5 lbs 10 oz. He's now almost 11 months old, and between 22-24 lbs. He caught up with his full term best friend I think by the time he was about 6 months. Developmentally he's pretty much right on track with term babies, even though they say to subtract the number of weeks early to determine age for the first 2 years or so.

Geneviève - posted on 11/13/2008

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When she was born, she was also around 5%. You will see he will grow and as long as he follow his own curve it's all good.

My pediatrician was nervous because my daughter was getting big very quickly.

Also, my cousin as a 1 year old daughter and when you put her and my daughter next to one another they are the same size and she was past her due date.

Geneviève - posted on 11/13/2008

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My daughter was born at 35 weeks and weighed 5lbs 6.5oz. At 6 weeks she was already 8lbs and at 2 months 10lbs. Last appointment at 4 months she was 15lbs (over 75%) and 24.5 inches (50%). She catch-up in weigh pretty quickly but it took her a little while longer for her height. Not surprising as she was drinking 35 to 40 oz of milk a day at 6 weeks.

It's very hard to base ourselves on other babies, because they are so different in many ways!

Kendelle - posted on 11/13/2008

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Hi my son was born at 37 weeks he was 4lbs 7oz 18and half inches long he is doing good he now weighs 14lbs at four months which is really good and in size 2 diapers.It souldnt take too long for your little bungle of joy too be at avanage weight.

Erica - posted on 11/13/2008

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OH gosh my little girl was born 35weeks 5lbs she was smaller than all the other kids until now she is going to be 3 years old on the 17th and just now catching up she is about 30lbs and she talks up a storm she really didnt have any delays other than smaller clothes lol just every little one does things diffrent!

Mindy - posted on 11/13/2008

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My daughter was born at 32 weeks and weighed 2lbs 13oz. and is going to be two next month and she just hit 22 lbs. So I agree it is different for everyone. As for developmentally she is ahead of others her age in most areas... so hard to say?

Annie - posted on 11/11/2008

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Hi! My son was born at 29 weeks and was 2 lbs. 14 oz. He is now almost 2 and a half years old and is still 26 lbs. Don't worry too much about his weight, as long as he is gaining little by little. At 13 weeks my son was not even 8 lbs! Everyone's a little bit different. :-)

Skylur - posted on 11/11/2008

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My daughter was born at 30 weeks and 5 days and wieghed 3 lbs 15 oz. She didn't weigh 10 lbs until she was about 4 1/2 months. She is 9 months now and is doing well for her adjusted age. The OT has told me that premies usually catch up around 2-3 years.

Ashley - posted on 11/11/2008

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My son was born at 33 wks and was 3lb. 8oz. The developmental specialist told me that I would start to see a gap closure between 4 and 6 months and by age 2 he should be normal. He's now 4 months and weighs a little over 12 pounds.

Sonja - posted on 11/11/2008

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Hello, my son was born at 32 wks and also weighed 3lbs and 15 oz and was 16 in long at birth. He just turned 19 months old yesterday (17 months adjusted). He just started taking steps on his own in the past month. He has been a little slower to start on some things while others he is ahead of the game! Last Thursday we went to the Neonatalogist for a check-up (for his walking and weight) and he was 31 in long and weighed 20lbs and 2 oz!! We were SOOO happy! His weight is still a little below on the charts but it seems like it took a long time to gain the last 2 pounds for him! and he is a good eater! has had no developmental delays yet. if he wasnt walking by 20 months they were going to enroll him in some PT. Our Dr tells us they should be caught up by 2 yrs usually. They say that at 2 yrs they do not give them the "adjusted age" on the charts. like now they go by him being 17 months old (adjusted) but when he is 2 they will go by 2 yrs not 22 months.dont worry it will all work out. and every baby/child is unique! good luck!

[deleted account]

Hi Kristina! My son was born at 34weeks and weighed 5lbs, he is now 4 months and 1 week old and weighs 14lbs. Do not worry at all!! Depends on how much he is eating. At the beginning I was trying to make him eat on "schedules" and quantities but about a month ago I just let him eat whatever he wants and he had gain more weight than ever before!! I just needed to relax a little. You will see he is fine!

Tammy - posted on 11/10/2008

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I think all preemie babies have their own curve ... I know Savannah did, the doctors are happy with the way she is and well so are we. Her dad and I are on the shorter side and she will probably be too. Your best bed would be to talk to your sons doctor and find out what he thinks. If the doctor is okay with where your little guy is at then not too much to worry about. Before you know it he will be walking, talking and stirring up trouble. Good luck and congratulations he is super cute!

Samantha - posted on 11/10/2008

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well the doctors always keep an eye on a premature babies weight and they should catch up by a year old, that is when the doctors stop taking the missed time off the weight.

Tammy - posted on 11/10/2008

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The doctors say they should catch up by 2 but not my daughter... she still doesn't weigh much at 25lbs and almost 3 but she has grown alot .... her speech has really improved this summer so personally I would say by age 3 but the doctors told me 2!

Trina - posted on 11/09/2008

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Congratulations on your darling lil guy!



My son was born at 28 weeks; he was 2lb 5 oz. We were told that it would take "around" two years, and that has pretty much proven true. At six months, he was only in the .025 percentile on his measurements. At one year, he'd made it up to the 25th. At his most recent appointment (18 month), he was in 77th for height and 50th for weight. One thing that our doc kept reminding us along the way is that so long as he was showing increase in the percentiles, he was doing good and he'd "catch up" when he was ready. Good luck!

Robyn - posted on 11/09/2008

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My son was born at 31 weeks at 4 pounds 1 ounce. He is almost 2 and about 24 pounds. I was told that babies should catch up by 2 years by the doctor and by 7 from my uncle by observing my cousins who were also premies. I am happy to have a small baby, since he still likes to be carried around. I see speech delays in him, but with early intervention, he is getting the help he needs and we are seeing progress there too. The one thing my pediatrician said to me, every time she charts my son is that he is progressing on his same curve, so he is where he should be and moving nicely on the chart. I was always happy that he was on the chart for his actual age, besides his corrected age. Take little strides and appreciate them and it will all work out in the end.

Amy - posted on 11/09/2008

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Your pediatrician should be using a preemie growth chart as well as a regular growth chart. As long as there is a progression, I am sure he is doing fine. My daughter was also born at 32 weeks and weighed the same as your son. By the end of her first year you could'nt tell size wise that she was a preemie. She still wasn't walking by that point though.

Sara - posted on 11/09/2008

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my daughter was born at 30 weeks prem 2.5 lb, she was tiny for a long time but by the age of 1 had caught up, she was a bit late on some things ie walking ! she is now 9yrs and is just like any other 9yr old!!

Dawn - posted on 11/08/2008

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Hi my daughter was born at 30 weeks and was 2lbs 5oz. She stayed tiny for a long time but did everything she did at the right age not even age correcting it. Just remember one thing you are blessed and you get to enjoy them longer as a baby that is how I looked at it. She is now 6 and she is perfect in the 50 percentile for weight and height. In fact they say most preemies are very intelligent and I would agree she has been reading since she was five. In fact I have a 5 year old and she is actuallly tinier then my preemie at that age. But to answer your questions the doctor told me by 2 and I would say they were right. One important thing though with flu season don't let people hold your baby and if you do make them wash your hands you have the right and if they don't understand don't worry your just protecting a precious gift. Also stay out of crowded areas with baby during flu season. Hope this helps.

Shawnie - posted on 11/08/2008

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My daughter was born at 34 weeks and was 5 lbs 1 oz, She is healthy and growing like a weed. My doc says its really just in their own time when they catch up. So far we haven't noticed too much of a difference. She is in a low percental for height, but they tell me not to worry she is healthy and growing. I was worried like you at least until she was 3 months old...it will pass. Hey, it sounds like is growing like a weed 7 lbs is a big jump from 3 lbs. Keep up the good work.

Becky - posted on 11/08/2008

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My oldest, born at 30 weeks, was 4 lb 2 oz, so bigger than expected. He is now almost 2 and a half and is still quite a bit smaller than other kids his age. I used to worry about him not catching up, but eventually I learned that he is who he is. Like you said, they are all different. Just enjoy not having to lug around a huge baby!

Michelle - posted on 11/06/2008

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My son was born at 32 weeks and weighed 2lbs 12oz and is still on the smaller size. Compared to other children his age he is 25% for weight, 50% for head and 75% for height...the gap does narrow but takes a while to get there. My son is now 3. You just have to remember that as an infant they are not expected to "catch up". With him being 13 weeks old he is only considered 5 weeks old gestation wise. They don't start to evaluate them as their chronological age until they are 2 years old.

Ruth - posted on 11/06/2008

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I was told by the age of 2 years they should be pretty much caught up. Well, since conception, my daughter's always been different! She was 3lbs, 3 1/2 oz. at birth, and by a year she was only 16lbs. She'd always been in the 10th percentile for things, then she jumped up to the 25th in height, then finally the 25th in everything. (She's 8 yrs. now, but still quite thin!)

The main thing I learned along the way is that every child develops differently. Try your hardest not to compare your son to other kids, especially those his age. He won't be the same, and that's fine! As long as he's healthy & the doctors are happy with how he's developing, just keep on loving on him & enjoying every moment!!!

Rasha - posted on 11/05/2008

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You are correct every baby is different. My son was born at 30 weeks weighing 1 pound 15 ounces. I thought he would never catch up physically, but he has he is 4 years old, 36 pounds and 41 and 3/4 inches tall, he is on the lighter side of 4 year olds but his pediatrician has said that he is in the 100th percentile according to their growth charts. If it helps at all my son didn't weigh 10 pounds untill he was almost 8 months old, and he is doing great

Bobbie - posted on 11/05/2008

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well with my son it took him well after his first birthday, i was 26 wks pregnant when he was born he was 3 pds 13 ozs and i say a few months after his first year the doctors finally charted him at a full term baby but he took longer in other things besides his size like walking and things of that nature i wouldnt rush it he will grow at his own speed and if the doctor isnt concern i wouldnt be to stressed out.

[deleted account]

I think that is a point worth mentioning: at what point did our society decide that bigger babies = better babies? So many people have the attitude that they want to "fatten up" their babies, like it is a contest and the biggest baby wins. And we wonder why we have a childhood obesity problem in our country. I can see why parents of preemies are doubly concerned. Just my two cents.

Oneika - posted on 11/05/2008

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my son was also born at 32 weeks & was 4 lbs. he started to catch up pretty well around 6 mos. now, both growth & development wise he is on track & is 8 mos. old. some people still says he looks a little on the small side, but he's a breastfed baby & is right on target. i think most people are use to seeing fat, plump babies. but as long as he's growing at a good pace, i wouldn't worry.

Alisse - posted on 11/05/2008

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Although he seemed tiny, my little guy was born at 31 weeks at 3 lbs 3 oz, so your boy has almost a full pound on him! "Catching up" is different for everyone. By 6 months Colt was just on the low side of average size, and by 12 months Colt was pretty much caught up. Now he's a little over 50th percentile. As long as your doctor's not worried about his size and he's gaining wait steadily, don't worry. We worry too much already! These first few months are the hardest; I remember Colt took forever to smile but when he finally did it was all worthwhile!

[deleted account]

My twins were born at 35 weeks and weighed 4lbs 4oz and 5lbs 15oz. They are now 4 months old and weigh 13lbs 8oz and 14lbs 1oz and everyone tells me I have large babies:( I worry that they will be overweight but their doctor says that they are still low on their charts. All babies grow at different rates. Our babies will do great no matter what their weight!

Heather - posted on 11/05/2008

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My daughter was born at 32 weeks as well. She weighed 3lbs 2oz. She s now 17 months and is 23 lbs. She is 95% for her age. She gained weight fairly quickly in the beginning. I can only assume that the rate in which your son will gain weight will depend on how good of an eater he is. I was always concerned about her gaining weight but as soon as she started eatting baby food she put weight on at a good pace.

Shannon - posted on 11/05/2008

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My daughter was born at 33 weeks and she's now 6 years old... she was always smaller than kids her age until a couple of years ago. So don't let it worry you, he is who he is.

Jenn - posted on 11/05/2008

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Hi everyone I am a new mom on this site. I had my daughter at 26 weeks, she was 1 pound 14 oz. she was a peanut, She just now at the age of 4 hit the chart at the Doctors. My dr's said that as long as they keep a steady weigh gain there is nothing to worry about. My daughter didn't even hit double digits till she was 9 months. Every baby is different and will catch up when they will. My Nicu doc's said by the ages of 2 thru 6 is when preemies catch up.

[deleted account]

This is so encouraging to read! My son was born at 33 weeks and weighed 2 pounds, 13 ounces. He's growing steadily but slowly- he's 6 months old now and weighs about 12 pounds. I get so discouraged sometimes that he's not as big as his peers, but it sounds like it just takes them a while to catch up.

Jemma - posted on 11/05/2008

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hi my daughter only weighed 6lb at that age but she was an average size by the age of 2 hope this helps. my daughter is 11 now and nearly as tall as me

Leanne - posted on 11/04/2008

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My son was 32 weeks, 4 lbs 4 ozs. Well, you can count them as a preemie until 2, so you've got awhile to go! However, mine caught up (he was in the 50th percentile) about 2-3 months old. Now, he's huge and I can barely carry him! He's full size, in fact in 3T clothes and he's only 2 1/2. You'll get there!

[deleted account]

Our doctor told us after 12 months of age they are pretty much "caught up" to full-term babies. Like many people have said, of course, every baby is different. Our daughter was born at 35 weeks and was 3.5 pounds, and I think she was caught up in size by 9 months or so. But her father is 6' 6" so she is a very tall baby. Developmentally she is still a couple months behind (cruising and walking late) but I think that has more to do with her personality than her being premature.

As far as your son's growth right now, the most comforting information was given to me by the NICU doctor. How much weight is gained is not as important as the trend. In other words, as long as your son is gaining weight or even maintaining weight, he is healthy. Be concerned if he loses weight.

The first few weeks are a stressful time for every mom, I think even more so for a mom of a preemie. Stay confident that you are doing a great job, he's almost tripled his size! Being confident and comfortable that you are doing the best for him will do him more good than anything. He feels that security.

Good luck and enjoy him! It goes by too quickly!!

Kristina - posted on 11/04/2008

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Thanks everyone for your responses. It feels a lot better knowing that other people have gone through this. It's just a little unnerving when your pediatrician tells you your baby is in the 5 percentile. I'll just make sure he's eating well and gaining weight and hope that he'll be fine.

[deleted account]

My daughter (now 13 yrs old) was born at 33 weeks and weighed 3lbs 8oz. She was caught up by 6 months. My son (now 11 yrs old) was born at 28 weeks and weighed 2 lbs 11 oz. He was all caught up by 15 months. All kids are different, and boys are usually slower than girls. Hang in there!

Sarah - posted on 11/04/2008

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My son was born at 35 weeks and was 7 lbs and 20 1/2 in. It took him about 6 months to "catch up". He is now 5 yrs old and is 50 in. He is very skinny and very active!!!! He is in the 95th percentile of his height and 75th in his weight. I wouldn't really worry about what the "average" time is though. Your son will be just fine! As long as he is eating well and loved by you he'll be good!

Mindy - posted on 11/04/2008

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Hi! my son was born at 30 weeks after I had PPROM at 20weeks.(pre-term, premature rupture of the membranes-my water broke) He weighed 2lbs 13oz, and 15in. Our Dr. tells us that developmentally they should be "caught up" by the time they are 2. Kyle is 2 1/2 and developmentally he's doing just fine now. . .he started walking at 17, almost 18mo.(which is alittle late) and his speech is great! (he's been observed monthly by our counties Family Infant toddler program) But he just reached 20lbs! Even physically he can move around just fine! But he is so tiny! And there isn't anything else wrong with him. . . .He's moving in the right direction, just alittle slower than average. He was born at the same time as another little boy in the NICU, they both weighed the same, and had similar issues. they came home 1 day apart from eachother, and his mom and I have stayed in touch. That lil' guy is about 12lb heavier than my son. He sprouted right up after he came home. Basically what im trying to say, is that all babies aregoing to grow at different rates. and as long as developmentally they are on track with their adjusted age(your son being born at 32weeks, you would go back 8 weeks from his original due date) by 2 things should pretty much even out, and he should be your normal average 2 year old. Our Dr. isn't even worried about My sons weight! He's doing everything he should be doing, He's just petite. . . they are and I am confident that he'll go on to surpass anything else that gets in his way! He's one tough little boy :)

Erin - posted on 11/04/2008

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Congratulations on your new little babe!!
All 3 of my kids were preemies so I am a "seasoned" preemie mom --
34 weeks early at 5lb. 8 oz. caught up at about 1 year old
32 weeks early at 5lb. 12 oz. - caught up at 6 months old (great eater though)
33 weeks early at 4 lb. 2 oz. now 3 years old -- height she is at 80% but weight is under 3% (26 lbs) . Still asking if she will catch up in weight but she is healthy and doctor has always said for all three that if they are following their own natural curve (staying at a consistent percentage) there isn't a concern.

So to answer your question I think it is hard to say since every kid is different.

Rachel - posted on 11/04/2008

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My twins were born 32 weeks, 2 lb 13oz, 3 lb 6oz they were finally on the chart (although only in the 5% range) at age 4. They are now in the 10% range yeah!! I think it has a lot to go with genetics my husband and I are small.

Amy - posted on 11/04/2008

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My son was born at 34weeks and weighed 4lbs 8oz, he is now a year old and weighs just over 18lbs. It is different for every baby. james eats all the time, and is still really tiny. He is ahead of the curve on a lot of other things developmentally. When were in the NICU there was a baby that was smaller than James and is a week or so older and he is now a good 5-6lbs bigger than him. So it is different for every baby. THe department of health will weigh you baby for you and tell you where on the curve he is if you are really worried about it.

Mary - posted on 11/04/2008

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My son was born at 30 weeks and 3 lbs. He is now four and although slightly immature developmentally as far as social skills he is fine. He caught up very quickly in physical size so I don't think there is any specific timeframe I believe it is measured more by developmental milestones. By 2 years of age they should be "caught up" keeping in mind that boys typically mature slower than girls in some areas. I really think if you keep your eye on his developmental milestones you will have a better idea of how he is progressing.

Tracy - posted on 11/04/2008

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my twin girls were born at 28 wks, they weighed 1 lb. 14oz. and 2lb. 2 oz., they were in the hospital for 2 months. They are now 3 yrs old. They are just now starting to wear the same clothes that normal 3 yr old should be wearing, somethings are still a little big. The doctor told me that by the time they are 2 or 3 they will have caught up. So don't worry it will happen. It seemed like they went from 18 month clothes straight to 3T, overnight.

Stephanie - posted on 11/04/2008

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My son was born at 28 weeks and weighed 2 lbs 2 ozs. He was caught up by his first birthday. He even started walking the day after he turned 1. He is almost 8 now and doing fine. He make average grades (A/B) at school.

Kellie - posted on 11/04/2008

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Hi. My daughter was born at 27 weeks at 2lb8oz. I compare her to my son who what full term and they about evened out by 1year. Development wise it is supposed to be by 2. Some sooner, some later. Nothing is set in stone! I'm sure my son reguardless is going to pass her by in both weight and height!

Sarah - posted on 11/03/2008

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Hi my son was born at 32 weeks as well and was 3lbs 3 oz. Now he is almost 2 and is in the 50% range for his height and is 40% range for his weight. But i heard from my sister who also had 2 preemie girls that it depends on the parents as well small parents might have a small baby so it does depend. I say as long as he is healthy then he will get bigger.

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